ORPHIC FRAGMENT 19 - OTTO KERN

ORPHIC FRAGMENT 19 - OTTO KERN

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For links to many more fragments: The Orphic Fragments of Otto Kern.

SUMMARY: This quotation from Plátôn (Πλάτων) is a description of the role of religion in training girls and boys for future participation in the necessities of war, with mention of imitation of the Kourítæs (Κουρήτες) and the Dióskouri (Διόσκουροι) in the choruses of the ancient peoples.

19. Νόμοι Πλάτωνος VII 796 b-c:

οὐδ᾽ ὅσα ἐν τοῖς χοροῖς ἐστιν αὖ μιμήματα προσήκοντα μιμεῖσθαι παρετέον, κατὰ μὲν τὸν τόπον τόνδε (sc. Athenas) Κουρήτων ἐνόπλια παίγνια, κατὰ δὲ Λακεδαίμονα Διοσκόρων. ἡ δὲ αὖ που παρ᾽ ἡμῖν κόρη καὶ δέσποινα, εὐφρανθεῖσα τῆι τῆς χορείας παιδιᾶι (codd.] παιδείαι Euseb.), κεναῖς χερσὶν (κεναῖς χερσὶν post δεῖν Euseb.) οὐκ ὠιήθη δεῖν ἀθύρειν, πανοπλίαι δὲ παντελεῖ κοσμηθεῖσα, οὕτω τὴν ὄρχησιν διαπεραίνειν· ἃ δὴ πάντως μιμεῖσθαι πρέπον ἂν εἴη κόρους τε ἅμα καὶ κόρας, τὴν τῆς θεοῦ χάριν τιμῶντας, πολέμου τ᾽ ἐν χρείαι καὶ ἑορτῶν ἕνεκα. τοῖς δέ που παισὶν εὐθύς τε καὶ ὅσον ἂν χρόνον μήπω εἰς πόλεμον ἴωσιν, πᾶσι θεοῖς προσόδους τε καὶ πομπὰς ποιουμένους μεθ᾽ ὅπλων τε καὶ ἵππων ἀεὶ κοσμεῖσθαι δέον ἂν εἴη, θάττους τε καὶ βραδυτέρας ἐν ὀρχήσεσι καὶ ἐν πορείαι τὰς ἱκετείας ποιουμένους πρὸς θεούς τε καὶ θεῶν παῖδας.

“Nor, again, must we omit suitable imitations of war in our choruses; here in Crete you have the armed dances of the Curetes, and the Lacedaemonians have those of the Dioscuri. And our virgin lady, delighting in the amusement of the dance, thought it not fit to amuse herself with empty hands; she must be clothed in a complete suit of armour, and in this attire go through the dance; and youths and maidens should in every respect imitate her, esteeming highly the favour of the Goddess, both with a view to the necessities of war, and to festive occasions: it will be right also for the boys, until such time as they go out to war, to make processions and supplications to all the Gods in goodly array, armed and on horseback, in dances, and marches, fast or slow, offering up prayers to the Gods and to the sons of Gods.”

(trans. Benjamin Jowett, 1892)

The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony.

We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology.

Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

Introduction to the Thæí (the Gods): The Nature of the Gods.

How do we know there are Gods? Experiencing Gods.

The logo to the left is the principal symbol of this website. It is called the CESS logo, i.e. the Children of the Earth and the Starry Sky. The Pætilía (Petelia, Πετηλία) and other golden tablets having this phrase are the inspiration for the symbol. The image represents this idea: Earth (divisible substance) and the Sky (continuous substance) are the two kozmogonic substances. The twelve stars represent the Natural Laws, the dominions of the Olympian Gods. In front of these symbols is the seven-stringed kithára (cithara, κιθάρα), the the lyre of Apóllôn (Apollo, Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus, Ὀρφεύς).

PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the pages of this website, you will find fascinating stories about our Gods. These narratives are known as mythology, the traditional stories of the Gods and Heroes. While these tales are great mystical vehicles containing transcendent truth, they are symbolic and should not be taken literally. A literal reading will frequently yield an erroneous result. The meaning of the myths is concealed in code. To understand them requires a key. For instance, when a God kills someone, this usually means a transformation of the soul to a higher level. Similarly, sexual union with a God is a transformation.

We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology.

Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

SPELLING: HellenicGods.org uses the Reuchlinian method of pronouncing ancient Greek, the system preferred by scholars from Greece itself. An approach was developed to enable the student to easily approximate the Greek words. Consequently, the way we spell words is unique, as this method of transliteration is exclusive to this website. For more information, visit these three pages:

Pronunciation of Ancient Greek

Transliteration of Ancient Greek

Pronouncing the Names of the Gods in Hellenismos

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